Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2008/09/08 15:47
A federal appeals court Friday refused to dismiss fraud and theft charges against celebrity pathologist Cyril Wecht and said he can be tried again — but ordered the judge replaced to help ease the "rancor in the courtroom."
The judge at Wecht's first trial did not follow proper procedure in declaring a mistrial after jurors said they couldn't unanimously agree on a verdict, but that wasn't enough to dismiss the 41 counts against him, the appeals court ruled.
Wecht, 77, has earned millions investigating deaths, including those of JonBenet Ramsey, Elvis Presley and Vince Foster.
He was accused of using his former Allegheny County coroner's staff to benefit his private business and trading unclaimed county morgue cadavers for office and lab space at a university where he taught. Wecht was also charged with mail fraud for allegedly overbilling his private clients for bogus travel expenses.
His first trial lasted seven weeks and jurors deliberated for more than 50 hours before telling U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab on April 8 that they were "essentially deadlocked." Schwab then declared a mistrial.